Cycling During Winter Months

Would You Ride This?

Question… How do you do it?  How do you stay motivated to ride (indoors or outdoors) during the winter months?  I’ve got a charity ride planned in the morning to benefit Toys For Tots, but the forecast is for freezing temperatures and snow/precipitation.   How do you wrap your mind around stupid-cold, crappy weather?

I remember back to 2003.  A group of Canadian cyclists made their way down south for the early spring to conduct a training camp in Clemson, SC, where I was living/working at the time.  They came in the shop, hung out, bought some parts and accessories over those few weeks, and developed a relationship with myself and the other guys at the shop that lasted quite a few years.  They continued to visit in following years, and we kept in touch via e-mail frequently.

In one of those e-mails, Don (the “leader of the pack”) sent me a picture of a group of cyclists from the club from the Great White North.  They were running a pretty solid paceline down a road, in what looked like blizzard-type conditions.  I quit complaining about cold weather at that point.

So what’s your solution for riding in the cold?  Is there a particular “dress code” that you abide by?  Do you use embrocation in conjunction with your attire?  Is there a certain temperature at which you say, “that’s just too cold?”  Please leave your feedback below.  Thanks.

Author: Josh Boggs

Sales Manager, Trek Store of Greenville - Board Chair, Palmetto Cycling Coalition - Board Member, Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association (PBMA) - Owner, PROBIKEWRENCH, LLC

6 thoughts on “Cycling During Winter Months”

  1. As they say, “there is no bad weather, only bad clothes”. The body can take the cold better than the mind. Living in NYC, I’ve found that I can ride as much as I want in the 20’s, but if it gets into the teens I can only take an hour or so. I have friends in Northern CA who complain at anything under 50 deg. I think you adapt to your environment. I think once you figure out the right clothing combination for all your local conditions you can ride in anything.

  2. 1. Once you are hooked in to cycling – you’re hooked – no matter the temperature.
    2. Having said that, you know how easy it is to get out of shape – for me it will only take 2 or 3 weeks and having the holidays in the middle just makes this worst; so you really want to keep riding the mot you can either indoors or outdoors.
    3. Riding in cold weather first just need to keep your toes and ears warm – I have toe covers and shoe covers and use them both at the same time if it is too cold & windy (35F and down)- you will never regret that. Once you have that cover you will need leg warmers and a good and warm winter riding jacket (those new carbon jackets are amaizing);on the past few days I have notice you also need a face mask – I haven’t used it yet but I am sure it will really make a difference on temps below 40. – I have to insist toes and ears are the most important parts of your body to cover.
    4.. Training indoors could become fun and challenging with a couple of good training dvd’s, you could really get a good workout in 45min of intense intervals.

  3. Actually, I don’t mind training indoors. I do prefer to do club rides, but when it’s competition time (like last season), I found out that I didn’t have time. I was either racing, recovering, or isolating a training peak.

    It gets cold here in eastern Washington. I started base miles on my stationary trainer right after race season was over (September). I rent a couple good DVD movies, select my training metrics, turn on the player, hop on the bike, and tune everything else out for a couple hours.

    Everyone is different…you got to use what works for you.

    -EricRacesBikes

  4. I just got a cross bike and new Sugoi winter jacket and shoe covers along with my super warm craft pants and my winter gloves I can only say that last night I was warmer than my bike. At least I did not have a 1/4″ of ice on me like my bike did.
    Is it wrong that that picture makes me regret not going for a ride right now?

  5. I quit indoor training when I quit signing racing contracts! 🙂 But when I did indoor training it always helped me to have a set workout to do. Goals of the upcoming race season helped also along with music that motivates.
    But I would always try to do my workouts outside if I could!

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